By Troy Hennig
(Chico, CA 7-4-10)…Elk Grove’s Kyle Larson picked up his third win of the year during the King of California sprint car series. Larson won the six-lap dash that enabled him to start from the pole position of the 30-lap main event. Larson grabbed the lead on lap one and the 17-year-old looked like a seasoned veteran holding off challengers like Jonathan Allard and Bud Kaeding. Larson is quickly becoming one of California’s best sprint car drivers and is poised to make a run at this years King of California championship. Bud Kaeding charged from the 10th starting spot and was one of the most impressive drivers during the two nights of racing. It was the second night in a row the USAC champion finished in the runner-up position. Jason Statler also had a strong weekend. Saturday night Statler finished fourth. Tonight Statler started ninth and worked his way up to a third place finish. Bobby McMahan moved from his 12th place starting spot to finish fourth. Sean Becker came back from an early spin and worked his way back to a fifth place finish. Twenty-two Golden State sprint cars entered the Chico pit area on the special July 4th Sunday night racing.
Larson led the field to the green flag. Lining up to the outside of Larson was Jonathan Allard. Up to this point, Allard had set the quick time won the first heat race and finished second in the dash. Add that to his clean sweep from the previous night and most people had their money on Allard. Yet, it was Larson who jumped out to the early lead. Larson was definitely the fastest car in the first part of the race. Larson was able to keep about a three to fourth car length advantage over Allard for the first ten laps of the race. The race was halted when Sean Becker slid off the track in turn two. He was in the fourth spot at the time of the spin. Alissa Geving also stopped off turn two near Becker. Geving’s night ended a few moments later when she slid off the track in turn three.
The racing began to heat up when the lead group neared the rear of the field. In fact, the outcome of the race was dramatically changed with under ten laps to go. Things got bunched up when Stuart Krum spun around in turn two but never stopped and kept going. While Krum was spinning the leaders were closing in. In front of the leaders were a few slower cars. Mixed in with the slow cars were Larson and Allard. Larson chose to go low. This allowed Allard to shoot around the outside of Larson and Krum. As Allard tried to take the lead away, contact was made between himself and Krum. The contact caused Allard’s left rear tire and suspension to collapse. Just behind him Zach Zimmerly spun around in turn three and four. The yellow came out. Allard went to the pit area and was just barely able to push off before the race resumed. Zimmerly restarted the race and did a nice job to work his way back to an eighth place finish. Allard finished in the 11th spot.
The race resumed with Larson in control. Bud Kaeding passed Brent Kaeding with a few laps to go. On the next lap it became certain that the right rear tire on Brent Kaeding’s car was going flat. Brent tired to keep his car going and secure a top five finish. But disaster struck when Kaeding came out of turn four and slowed dramatically on the front stretch. Mark Hall quickly closed in and contact between the two sent Hall and Kaeding upside down. Both drivers were uninjured. As the wreck was happening Larson was going through the final two turns and when he came out of turn four the checkered flag waived. Larson passed under the line and the race was over. Quickly the red flag also emerged and the rest of the drivers slowed. Once Larson crossed the line the race was officially over. Bud Kaeding and Statler joined Larson on the podium.
Evan Suggs finished in the sixth spot. Chico’s Ryan Kaplan secured the seventh spot. Zimmerly came home eighth. Matthew Davis had a nice run to finish ninth and Tyler Wolf brought the family car home in the tenth spot.
The street stocks also made their appearance during this night of racing. The main event had 15 cars take the green flag. Pole sitter Scott Rogers could not complete the first lap and came to a stop down the back straight. On the next start, outside front row starter Phil Marino took the lead. Marino beat Matt Magenheimer into the first turn. >From there it was all about Marino. Marino was never challenged during the 20-lap main event. James Castelbery ran in the second spot for most of the race but was never able to get close enough to Marino. Defending champion Heather Bartlett held on to the third spot. She was challenged by Gary Newman and Mike Slightom. When Marino crossed the finish line as the leader it marked his third win of the year in six starts. He tied Heather Bartlett, who also has three wins. Between the two of them they have kept everyone else winless in the street stock division. Scott Rogers won the first heat race while Marino won the second heat race. The street stocks will return to the speedway on July 16th. Full results are available at www.silverdollarspeedway.com
Racing will resume this Friday night, July 9th with the annual Bill Brownell Memorial. Four divisions will converge at the speedway. Shane Scott, the seven time track champion will suit up again and mix it up with the 410 winged sprint car drivers. The wingless sprints, dirt modifieds and Dirt Solution Late Models are also on tap. For more information keep updated at our website www.silverdollarspeedway.com